DENVER Two Republican voters filed a lawsuit Tuesday to kick Tom Tancredo out of the race for governor, citing the same body of law that kept La Plata County Commissioner Joelle Riddle off the ballot.
Tancredo switched from the Republican Party to the American Constitution Party July 26, after proclaiming that neither GOP candidate at the time, Dan Maes nor Scott McInnis, could win the race against Democrat John Hickenlooper.
GOP voters Marian Olson and Joseph Harrington sued Tuesday to force Tancredo and running mate Patricia Miller off the ballot.
Their continued candidacies will also embolden the use of minor political parties and minor party vacancy committees to continue intraparty feuds, cause confusion among the electorate, and result in a general election marred by chaos and turmoil rather than an orderly democratic process, they claimed in the lawsuit.
The governors race has seen plenty of chaos already.
Maes won the Republican primary, but his support has evaporated after repeated questions about his portrayal of himself as a successful businessman and former undercover police officer.
Republican Party Chairman Dick Wadhams said Friday he was very disappointed in the decision by Dan Maes to continue his candidacy for governor.
After the Maes meltdown, some Republicans turned to Tancredo as their preferred candidate.
Tancredo campaign manager Bay Buchanan said she is confident the lawsuit will be thrown out.
Last Friday, after reviewing all the pertinent documentation, Colorados secretary of state certified Tom Tancredo as a candidate for governor on the November ballot, Buchanan said in an e-mailed statement. Our attorneys have reviewed the recent complaint by the disgruntled Maes voters related to this certification and are confident that the courts will find no grounds on which to overturn the decision by the one individual with authority to make such decisions.
Also Tuesday, Maes and Hickenlooper cooperated on a move to marginalize Tancredo when they announced they would hold nine more head-to-head debates. They did not invite Tancredo.
Tuesdays lawsuit cites the case of Riddle, who left the Democratic Party last summer, after a deadline in state law for candidates to disassociate from a political party.
Riddle sued in federal court, along with state Rep. Kathleen Curry, an unaffiliated lawmaker from Gunnison who left the Democratic Party, but they lost.
The lawsuit against Tancredo cites Riddles case and a state law for minor parties that requires their candidates to be registered by Jan. 1 before an election.
A prominent conservative lawyer, Richard Westfall, filed the case. Westfall serves as treasurer of the Colorado Republican Party, but he emphasized that he is not representing the party in this lawsuit. Olson originally filed the case on her own, Westfall said.
Tancredo is expected to be in court Monday morning for a hearing in the lawsuit, Westfall said.
Tancredo retired from Congress in 2009, where he served as a Republican and nurtured a reputation as a fiery opponent of illegal immigration. He ran for president as a Republican in 2008.
The case is being heard in Denver District Court, which handles statewide election lawsuits.